Couch Potato, Twice Baked

This past week I came home from vacation and went back to work.  It wasn’t all bad, the end of vacation means I get to see this face –

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We made it home in time to celebrate his Buyday.  With steak!

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Here are the highlights of what the humans ate this week…

Coffee (coffee! coffee!).  Wicked Joe Coffee sent me some samples.  WJC is a sustainable, family-owned company producing certified organic, fair trade coffees.  They offered to let me try out the goods in celebration of the fact that they are available in 247 Sprouts Farmers Markets nationwide.

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I tried both blends (cooked in our drip coffee maker than cooled and served iced) black and with skim milk to taste-test and give them two thumbs up!  I also did some fun, sugary coffee pairings based on the tasting notes to jazz up my return to work mornings.  Wicked French says “bakers chocolate with an unexpected hint of sweetness” so I used fancy chocolate milk.

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Big House has “sweet notes of caramel and citrus” so I swirled in dulce de leche.

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Yogurt bowls.  Vanilla almond granola / cloudberry peach skyr / and three(!) colors of plucots.

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Passion fruit Fage / an apple / and an Rx Kids chocolate chip bar.

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I snuck in one last day of midweek vacation with Adam on Wednesday and we went on a lunch date at the gorgeously cool Chaan Teng in Hell’s Kitchen.

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I had shrimp and chicken dumplings to start.

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And a sweet and spicy cocktail with tequila, tamarind, basil, Szechuan peppercorns, mango juice, lime, and chili.

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They had kung pow duck!  With chilis , peppers, peanuts, and jicama.

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Snack attack.  We finally got to Astoria to try Chip.  My s’mores cookie was gooey perfection and now I can’t wait to go back.

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Cola candies.

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Korean Chili KIND bar.  <– I like their savory flavors even better than the sweet

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These dried mangos from TJ’s are out of this world good.

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If you stretch the definition of “cooked” to its limit, I made five nights of home-cooked dinners!  Turkey and sharp cheddar sandwich on a toasted whole-wheat croissant.

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BBQ chicken salad.  Local greens / ranch / baby heirloom tomatoes / pulled chicken breast with Korean bbq sauce / smoked cheddar.

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An assortment of freezer items, and eggplant that I actually cooked myself.

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TJ’s Thai sweet chili veggie burgers.

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Crinkle cut fries (with ketchup and mayo).

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Steamed/sautéed eggplant cooked with canola oil, fish sauce, gojuchang, honey, and garlic scapes.

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I made pimento cheese twice baked potatoes!

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This was my first time making twice backed spuds (or even eating them for that matter) but they came out great.  The filling was a mix of potato / extra-sharp cheddar / diced pimentos / mayo / smoked paprika and cayenne.

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Served with baked tofu.

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And beautiful roasted purple and orange cauliflower.

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The potatoes were great leftover too.

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With leftover duck that I chopped up and reheated in a skillet.

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And oven-baked okra fries.

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Have a great weekend!

Ice Cream In LA

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We took full advantage of our week off and took a trip out to the West Coast!  This was our first time in Los Angeles and we had a great trip.  We rented a car and had enough time to do some exploring.  Keeping with vacation tradition, I got sick with a sore throat, but thankfully half of our agenda was ice cream anyway!

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some of our favorite things we did – –

Chinatown // Griffith Park Observatory // La Brea Tar Pits

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// Malibu

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// Rodeo Drive // Santa Monica // Venice Beach

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// Venice Canals

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some of our favorite things we ate – –

Afters Ice Cream  <– this wins best ice cream of the trip

Brioche ice cream sandwich with cookie monster ice cream and sweetened corn flakes.  I couldn’t get a good photo in the sun but this was out of this world.

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B Sweet

Filipino dessert bars are the best.  I got amazing Halo Halo.

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Blue Star Doughnuts

The bottom one was terrible but the top one was a fantastic buttermilk glazed.  This was our very first stop on the trip and it was a nice start.

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Egg Slut

House-made turkey sausage, cage-free over medium egg, cheddar cheese, and honey mustard aioli in a warm brioche bun.

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Grand Central Market

There was so much to do here!  We got chicken tacos.

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And the best pad see eiw I’ve ever tasted.  The noodles were a little bit charred and perfectly chewy.  We were both in heaven.

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Magpies Soft Serve  <– this was the best soft serve we’ve ever had

I got a swirl with cherry cola(!!!) and sweetened cream.

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Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

It was adorable in here and we almost came away with some gold pins.  California croissant with smoked salmon, ginger, wasabi, and nori.

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Philz Coffee

The mojito iced coffee lived up to expectations.  I do have to mention that it makes me crazy that they call this “mojito” though, mojitos have mint and sugar but they also have rum and lime and without the second two ingredients you have a mint iced coffee, not a mojito.

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Salt and Straw

It’s as good as they say.  We had salted, malted, chocolate chip cookie dough and almond brittle with chocolate ganache.

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Son of a Gun  <– this was our best meal of the trip

This tapas-style seafood restaurant pretty much blew our minds.  I drank a Ruby Red Julep – Angels Envy Bourbon, ruby red grapefruit, hibiscus, lemon, and mint.

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We had the lemonfish poke with black radish escabeche, citrus, and crispy sunchoke.

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Maple cream with smoked steelhead trout roe and pumpernickel flakes.

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Heirloom tomato salad with avocado, chili, lime, miso, and corn.

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Blackened rock cod with tomatillo salsa, fried tortilla, and crema.

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And for dessert, Italian Hamburger: a brioche ice cream sandwich with caramel and maldon sea salt.

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And now it’s back to work, wish me luck!

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Second Staycation

By the time you read this I’ll be on a plane heading west, woo-hoo!

We are on our final week of summer vacation.  We are excited for today’s travels, but when we made our plans we made sure to include time for some New York City love.  Adam and I spent the past three days having a blast in our hometown.  We ate all the things, got in some good dog cuddles, and spent some time showing off the Lower East Side to a friend (one of our favorite humans recent moved to the city for fellowship and we are excited to share the love).

Here were the top six edible highlights from the past three days…

{1}  Antica Pesa = our new favorite Italian spot

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Every piece of this meal was perfection.  From the “Stranger Danger” – Ilegal Mezcal, guava, mint, hot honey, lime, and a Campari float.

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To the cheese plate with the best blue cheese we’ve ever had.

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I had housemade fettuccine with fresh mozzarella and eggplant puree and Adam had outstanding lasagna.

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Plus for dessert we had coffee granite with chocolate cornflake crunch on top and a Gianduia hazelnut cream on the bottom that was my all-time favorite bite of dessert.

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{2}  Chef’s Club Counter

The boys liked their smoked salmon toasts and I loved my duck rice bowl with olives, citrus puree, and duck cracklins.

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{3}  Mother’s Ruin

My chicken and waffles were my favorite plate of food of the summer!  The wings were coated in ridiculously fantastic Cholula-honey glaze.  I also had a great drink with light rum, cava, honey, and mint.

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{4}  Booze in Brooklyn

We played our favorite game at Barcade (and were infinitely frustrated by Tapper) and I fell in love with Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench gose.

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Plus we had way too many drinks and fell in love with the vibe at Rocka Rolla.

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{5}  Treats at Bibble and Sip

Iced lavender latte and a coconut Thai iced tea panna cotta.  And now we want to go back and try every other flavor of panna cotta.

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{6}  Turkey cheese burgers

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We made yummy turkey burgers – simply seasoned and kept moist with a brioche panade – on brioche buns with sharp cheddar cheese and bread and butters from Pickle Guys.

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With roasted zucchini.

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And a duo of fruit beers – New Belgium Juicy Watermelon Ale / Flying Dog Tamarind Ale.

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See you this weekend!

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New Noosas

I’m free (again)!  After a short return to work I’m back on vacation for the next week, woo-hoo!

Honestly?  I need a vacation.  I was only back at work three days but I stayed late for more than an hour on Thursday and Friday and now I’m tuckered out.

Thankfully I had a few exciting things to get me through my week.  Like a luscious line up of fun new beverages: Black Hand nitro cold brew / Secret Squirrel Vietnamese iced coffee / La Colombe triple draft latte / Maeil caramel macchiato / Harmless Harvest strawberry coconut water.

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And an extra exciting package of product samples from Noosa.

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Noosa yogurt is already pretty much angel pudding, so when they offered to let me try their new line of Noosa Mates (yogurt with premium mix-ins) I jumped at the chance.

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They were even better than anticipated!  Loved them all.  I was happy with the portion of both yogurt and toppings and each one has between 240-270 calories.  Banana Chocolate Peanut with Guittard chocolate chips and salted peanuts.

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Honey cranberry almond with pepitas and granola.

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Coconut almond chocolate.

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Maple ginger with candied ginger and gingersnap crumble.  I wasn’t expecting to like this because I think that I think that ginger is too spicy, but it was delicious!  The candied ginger was chewy and delightful.

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Honey pretzel peanut.

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I ate some fun stuff on my free days too.  Like doughnuts (which were just awful, but how cute is that pink wall?!).

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And a trip to Red Hook.

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We had key lime pie from Steve’s.

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And crab sandwiches from Brooklyn Crab.  Snow crab roll with Cholula-orange aioli.

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Alaskan king crab roll with warm butter and chives.

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Plus cole slaw.

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And a  Passion Paloma with mescal, passionfruit puree, and grapefruit soda.

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Plus we stopped at Baked for coffee and brought home a grasshopper bar for dessert later in the week.

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After a long span of eating every meal out, I was excited to make us a fancy dinner.

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Smoked turkey kielbasa with onions and bell pepper.

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Plus pommes aligot <– super cheesy potatoes.  I loosely followed this recipe.  I had to lighten up a few ingredients to accommodate what we had in the fridge (less butter, 2% milk instead of cream, low-fat three cheese cheddar blend) and it was still insanely yummy.

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I served my leftovers piled all together in a bowl with smoked paprika maple mayo on top.

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By the end of the week I was so exhausted by my three days of work that I got Chipotle instead of cooking anything!  Rice / sautéed veggies / chicken / pinto beans / corn salsa / spicy salsa / sour cream / cheese.

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Have a great weekend!

New York Staycation

To finish out my birthday week, my parents came into town for a quick visit.  It was great to get to spend time with them, and we had a tons of fun in the city.

With travel, we got to spend about four days together.  Our big walking day started in Brooklyn and included a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge, through Brookfield Place and the Occulus, Chelsea Market, a stroll through Greenwich Village, and time in Washington Square Park.

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We also had a fantastic northern Long Island day, complete with the Roosevelt House, Lavender by the Bay, a fresh raspberry pie, and a sunset on the water.

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Our meals were all wonderful, but sooo poorly lit, so sorry in advance for the blurry photos.  Here were the food highlights, alphabetically…

Brigadeiro Bakery.  My parents loved them as much as we do!  Adam and I shared coffee, oreo, and key lime pie.

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Crabby Jerry’s.

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We shared coconut shrimp.  And I had a surprisingly delicious blacked salmon Cesar salad.

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Mile End Deli.  You have to get poutine.

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We also had an heirloom tomato salad with avocado and pistachio ramp pesto.

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And I had the grandpa sandwich – smoked turkey, turkey leg rillettes, pickles, and mustard, on rye.

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Pineapple Express.  The dairy-free pineapple soft-serve was wonderfully creamy.

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Russ and Daughter’s Café.  Kippered salmon and smoked salmon spread with everything bagel chips.

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Latkes with sunny side up eggs and the best ever Nova smoked salmon.

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And we shared halvah ice cream with sesame and caramel for dessert.

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Savauge.  We shared sourdough with house-cultured butter.

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Roasted cauliflower with broccoli pesto and spiced pistachios.

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And I had the single-best chicken of my life.  With hen of the woods mushrooms, broccoli rabe, and brown butter.

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Thomas’ Ham and Eggery Diner.  I had a wonderful egg sandwich with swiss, avocado, and housemade chicken sausage.

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Van Leeuwen for ice cream.  We also had a great scoop at Ample Hills.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

Beans, Beans, Every Flavor Beans

I worked straight through Saturday to Thursday last week and it tired me out (hence the late post!).

The good news is that my work schedule meant I had a three day weekend.  And the better news is that I used my extra day to go on a quick trip to CT with Adam.  In other weekend excitement – we took the dog into the city to visit a dog park (he was not a fan).

Food themes for the week were beans and more beans, candy and more candy, and coffee (always coffee).  Here were the highlights…

Breakfast at Blue State Coffee in New Haven.  I had an egg and cheese sandwich on sourdough and an iced latte.

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Stumptown coffee.

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Pitaya smoothie with frozen cherries and cookies and cream pudding.  (<– bought the pudding on a whim, hated it, and was too cheap to toss it, but it was actually wonderful in the smoothie).

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Brunch at Fat Goose.

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I had a sparkling Paloma.

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And the foie gras panna cotta(!!!).  With strawberries, rhubarb, jam, and buttered challah.

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It was amazing.  And even better, there was a dog in my lap while I ate it!

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He got a bite of my ice cream for being a well-behaved brunch companion.

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Lemon yogurt with blueberries and maple granola.

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Plain yogurt with chocolate tahini, blueberries, and cotton candy grapes.

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Adam and I tried Costa Nova Waffle on an errands day.  They have tasty Portuguese coffee.  We had a crispy waffle with s’mores and a soft waffle with twix and both were delicious.

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Road trip snacks.

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Milk candy!  Japanese Hokkaido and Polish sesame milk caramels.

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These Haribo grapefruit candies are insanely good.

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Froyo on a hot day – birthday cake with mochi, nonpareils, and cereal marshmallows.

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Turkey BLT pasta (inspired by this Cooking Light recipe).   Whole wheat shells / turkey bacon / wilted arugula / roasted heirloom tomatoes / tossed with mayonnaise and salt and pepper.

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Salmon bacon sandwiches!

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Brioche buns with mayonnaise and gojuchang / sharp cheddar / a fried egg / and TJ’s salmon bacon.

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With roasted green beans.

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Red beans and rice (loosely inspired by this Serious Eats recipe).  Celery, green pepper, and onion cooked in evoo / salt, pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika / with TJ’s turkey summer sausage / and red kidney beans / served on brown jasmine rice.

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White beans with turkey bacon, celery, and gojuchang.  Plus sweet potato cheese fries.

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Dinner in New Haven.  We got Thai takeout – chicken pad see ew and pad thai – to eat in our hotel room in front of the cable tv.

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Plus ice cream that was fantastically creamy and good, cookie dough and coffee oreo for me.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Butter Pecan Mochi

Apologies for another late post!  Honestly?  When I get home from work I get into bed fully dressed with a snack for at least 30 minutes and sometimes I just don’t get up again to do anything productive!  I know I haven’t really blogged about some of the big recent changes at work, but suffice to say I am tired.  <– but also really happy to be busy and getting some exposure to new things

Some of my favorite bites from the [last] week…

Watermelon kefir is an excellent idea.  P.S. When I went to the Lifeway website I discovered that they apparently make an eggnog kefir and now it’s pretty much all I can think about.

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I was all about the premade coffees this week and they were surprisingly delicious.  Starbuck’s dark roast iced coffee.

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Caribou vanilla iced coffee.

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Cafeteria baked potato bar.  With sour cream, cilantro, cheese/sauce, and salsa.

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Yummy yogurt bowls.  Coffee Chobani with chocolate tahini, maple granola, and walnuts and an eve apple.

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Blood orange Chobani with Heritage Flakes and sunshine raspberries.

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Whole Foods hot bar = black bean sauce broccoli, green beans, curried cauliflower, pasta salads, sweet chili tofu.

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Plus I tried their mocha ice cream in butter pecan and black sesame.  <– this might be my new favorite thing

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Blue chip nachos!  With corn, cheddar, black beans, and fresh tomatoes.  I dipped them into roasted tomato salsa.

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I bought a bag of rolls at our grocery’s bakery ($1.69 for a variety pack of six?!) and we became obsessed with turkey and cheddar sandwiches.  The key is spreading the bun with a mix of mayo and gojuchang.

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I made a simple veggie and tofu bowl that was our favorite dinner of the week.

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Chopped raw bok choy with TJ’s sesame soy ginger vinaigrette / TJ’s teriyaki baked tofu / crispy edamame – tossed with evoo and salt and baked at 400* for 20 minutes / black sesame seeds.

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Leftover sesame noodles with chili oil with baked tofu and crispy edamame.

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A dinner in parts: Adam had to take a super quick trip to Delaware this week and I worked out my schedule to tag along.  We started with Mile End in Brooklyn for appetizers.  Garlic knish.

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Brussel sprouts salad (with a mix of raw and roasted!) with labne, sumac, and honeycomb and pumpernickel powder.  It was amazing.

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Mid-dinner dessert stop for churros with dulce de leche at the new DeKalb Market Hall.

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And finally Grain in Newark.  I had a great whiskey sour.

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And the best crab cake sandwich of my life; it was absolutely packed with crab meat, no filler to be found.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!